Howard in the Navy: Teamwork

- Teamwork is everything in the United States Navy. 

They have a saying on the ship: Ship, mate, self. Meaning that their first priority is to the ship, then to their fellow sailors and then they themselves come last. 

“It’s not a 9-5 kind of job, it’s whenever they need you,” said Hunter Whetzel, a hometown hero from Greensboro. 

Whetzel joined the Navy 2 years ago. He’s now aviation electrician with the strike fighter squadron known as the Fighting Swordsman. 

“I wasn’t one of those guys who grew up thinking planes are awesome, but now that I’m here it’s pretty cool,” he said. 

There are 200 people working in this squadron. 

Not all of them get to fly FA-18 Super Hornets, or get celebratory wash downs. 

But they’re all part of the team. 

The squadron is nicknamed The Gypsies. They’ve been involved in every conflict since world war 2. 

“The teamwork it’s a crew, so if one of you messes up you both mess up and all of your successes are together,” said Drew Kocher, a pilot in training. 

The teamwork translates when onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. 

The commanding officer training those who may one day replace him. The executive officer working out with her sailors. And the command master chief taking cues from his own life to help those he’s now in charge of developing. 

“I was that guy who was kind of like in college and then got kicked out of college and this was it, but then I grew up,” said James Stedding the ship’s command master chief. 

They work as a team in the kitchen. 

“Man, I’m not going to lie, it’s stressful. But it’s satisfying at the same time because we’re not in the trenches, you’re not shooting guns, firing bullets but you’re still helping people,” said Charles Scott, one of the many chefs on board. 

They also work together on the front lines of security. 

“You’re all working together so that’s really something that in the civilian lifestyle you don’t really get. We’re all a family, we’re all here 24/7 with each other,” said Kara Newsome a hometown hero from Marion, NC. 

She works with fellow hometown hero Brian Bone of Rocky Mountain. 

“They push you to go to school and to advance more,” he said. 

In other words: ship, mate, self. 
 
“The intensity, the drive that the Abraham Lincoln instills in you is what really makes it all a team effort,” said Lauren Smith who’s been in the Navy for 8 years. 

These pieces highlight Howard's experience with our men and women in the United States Navy. They are written in the first person for that reason.

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